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Nearly All Americans Will One Day Be Overweight, Researchers Predict

Friday, May 29, 1998

From Associated Press

WASHINGTON--Americans are just too fat, researchers say, with 54% of all adults heavier than what is healthy. If the trend continues, experts say that within a few generations virtually every U.S. adult will be overweight.
     The percentage of overweight Americans has increased by about a third in the last 20 years, and more hefty adults are on the way because more than 25% of today's children are overweight, says researcher James O. Hill at the University of Colorado. "The predictions are that it is increasing at such a rate that we'll all be overweight at some point."
     People stay at the proper weight if they eat only the amount of food needed to fuel their physical activity. Americans now generally eat far more than they need and exercise far less than they should, he said.
     Hill blames the environment: Americans have too much food available, social situations encourage overeating, restaurants compete by offering bigger and bigger servings and technology has made it possible to avoid exercise.
     "Becoming obese is a normal response to the American environment," said Hill, lead author of a study appearing today in the journal Science.
     He said obesity increases the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other chronic disorders. Some studies have shown an increase of up to a 60% in the risk of death from all causes for obese people.